While the brilliant Versus game is without doubt the best possible way to play Bushido Blade, the Story Mode is thoroughly involving too. The story goes that deep in the Chugoku mountainside is an ancient dojo, where the practitioners teach their subjects the spiritual lessons known as the ‘teachings of the Echoing Mirror.’ In the back of this peaceful place though, is a secret collection of people with a much darker purpose – the Kage. These are a group of well trained assassins made up from a select few of the dojo’s teachers.
Beat-’em-up veterans will probably be surprised by the lack of the traditional health bars that normally grace the top of the screen because in Bushido Blade you never know the exact energy level of you or the opponent. In fact, the only on screen display is the small two-digit number indicating the amount of rounds you’ve won so far. The clear screen lets you see the beauty of the crisp graphics in unobscured glory. The characters are not the most vibrantly coloured mob (although all six have much brighter alternative training clothes) but they are finely detailed and could teach Soul Blade a thing or two about realistic motion.
Enter Squaresoft's Bushido Blade, a 3-D fighter set in the modern era but focusing on bladed weaponry. Select a champion from a roster of six fighters, then arm your warrior with one of the eight lethal melee weapons at your disposal. Will you take the rapier for rapid and sudden strikes, knowing that the damage is low and its range short, or will you wield something with superior reach, sacrificing speed for brute strength and defense?